For centuries, Art was the primary means employed by Man to understand the larger world around them. Talented classical artists could convey complex concepts such as Heaven and the Garden of Eden through storytelling on canvas. However, through most of human history, classical art has been inaccessible to those with visual impairments. Now we are seeing new efforts to unlock the secrets of the Art world for the visually impaired.
At Prado, one of Spain’s premier purveyors of classical art, they have done just that. With help from ONCE, Spain’s national organization for the blind, Prado has created 6 special copies of master works by the likes of El Greco, Francisco Goya and Leonardo da Vinci. Only these paintings are special because they are meant to be touched!
Curators at Prado have used a special relief painting technique to add volume and texture to the main subjects in the artworks. The accompanying audio guide explains how best to explore each painting by touch. Together, these methods help to bring the painting alive for those with visual impairments. For the first time, they are able to project a mental image of these classic works through direct sense perception.
“This is a brilliant exhibition. The only way the blind used to have access to paintings was through explanations from another person.”, explains Mr. Gonzales who is a blind guest and has visited the exhibit several times.
Keep up the good work Prado. We hope to see this exhibit when it comes to our town.